Physicians' attitudes towards eprescribing: a comparative web survey in Austria and Sweden

Thomas Steinschaden, Goran Petersson, Bengt Åstrand

Abstract


Background The eHealth Action Plan required the member states of the European Union (EU) to provide online services such as eprescribing of pharmaceuticals by the end of 2008. So far, implementation activities and efforts of the member states have been uneven. While in Austria pilot projects and feasibility studies have been conducted, Sweden has always been one of the leading countries in the field of eprescribing.
Objective To identify potential success factors for the implementation of eprescribing in Sweden, by comparing the attitudes of Austrian and Swedish physicians.
Method In a web survey, we asked 1824 Austrian and 427 Swedish physicians within primary care and other disciplines to declare to what extent they agreed with ten statements regarding their attitudes towards eprescribing. We deployed the chi-square test for testing the relationship between the country of residence of physicians and their attitudes towards eprescribing.
Results We demonstrated a relationship between the country of residence of physicians and their attitudes towards eprescribing (P<0.001) for all the responses. Of the Swedish physicians, 92% regarded eprescribing as time-saving, 88.1% as being safer and 96.0%as providing a better service for patients. Although less strongly supportive, the attitudes of the Austrian physicians were mainly positive.
Conclusion We found that the major potential success factors for the implementation of eprescribing in Sweden were saving of time for the physician, improved safety and better service for patients. The mainly positive attitudes of the Austrian physicians may enable implementation of eprescribing in due course.

Keywords


Austria; confidentiality; drug information services; electronic prescribing; medical informatics; Sweden

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14236/jhi.v17i4.743

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